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Testing in Ohio: An Overview

A GreatSchools guide to standardized tests

By GreatSchools Staff

Although test results are only one measure of student achievement, they have become increasingly important in assessing student learning. Ohio uses the Ohio Achievement Test (OAT) to test students in grades 3 through 8, and the Ohio Graduation Test (OGT) to test students in grade 10. Students must pass the OGT in order to graduate.

The Ohio Performance Index provides an overall indication of how students in each school and district are performing on the Ohio Achievement Test and the OGT.

The Ohio Value-Added Measure tracks student progress on the OAT from one year to the next.

Even though test results can be an indicator of what's happening in the classroom, they don't tell you everything about the quality of a school. Always look at more than one measure when judging school performance and visit in person before making any final determination.

The information provided on GreatSchools profiles is for the 2008-2009 school year.

Tests in Ohio

In 2008-2009 Ohio used the Ohio Achievement Test (OAT) to test students in grades 3 through 8 in reading and math, in grades 4 and 7 in writing, and in grades 5 and 8 in science and social studies. The Ohio Graduation Test (OGT) was administered in grade 10 in reading, writing, math, science and social studies. Along with public schools, some but not all private schools are required to participate in the OGT.

The OAT and the OGT test the skills in the Academic Content Standards. The standards outline what students should learn in every grade in Ohio. The exams are designed to test the grade-level skills outlined in the standards.

Ohio also administered diagnostic tests in grades 1, 2 and 3 in core subjects to measure overall student progress and to determine individual strengths and weaknesses. These test results, however, are not reported by the state.

How are the tests scored?

The OAT and OGT results report the level of proficiency a student demonstrates in each of the subject areas tested. Students are rated at one of the following five levels: advanced, accelerated, proficient, basic or limited. The goal is for all students to score at or above proficient on the tests.

Which results are included on GreatSchools profiles?

For each subject, the combined percentage of students scoring at and above the proficient level is displayed.

OGT state averages displayed on public school profiles include public schools only. OGT state averages displayed on private school profiles include private schools only.

GreatSchools also displays subgroup results to show how different groups of students are scoring in comparison to the overall student population in a given grade and subject. These subgroups are identified by the Ohio Department of Education; if there are fewer than 10 students in a particular group in a school, data is not reported for that group.

Why do the tests matter?

Performance on state tests indicates whether or not students are making progress toward mastery of state content standards, and some districts may use test results as a factor in determining promotion from one grade to the next. High school students must pass all five subjects of the OGT to graduate. Students who do not pass the first time have multiple opportunities to retake the tests.

It is important to be aware of both your child's score on the assessments and the overall score for his school. If your child scores below the standards, contact his teacher to discuss getting additional assistance, and to find out how you can support your child's learning at home.

If the school's overall scores are low, ask what steps the school is taking to raise achievement levels for all students, and what you can do to help. If your child is in a failing school, ask what your options are for transferring and obtaining supplemental services.